I can’t help but think of W.E.B Dubois’ concept of double consciousness when reading about ASAP Rocky’s current situation. For those out of the loop, on July 3rd while on tour in Sweden ASAP Rocky got into a relatively small scuffle with locals leading to his arrest. He is facing up to six years in Swedish jail for assault and battery, and has been imprisoned there for the past two weeks. Rocky attempted to get ahead of the situation by posting a video that was taken prior to the fight on Instagram, stating that the followers were the aggressors and accusing them of non-consensually touching females’ butts as they were passing by. This whole legal situation is quite complex, but I brought up the idea of double consciousness because it refers to a specific problem African Americans in a Eurocentric world have. We see ourselves through the eyes of a primarily white dominated society, but we also carry a strong sense of self that often is in conflict with the prior. It is easy to quickly ingest ASAP’s story and come to the conclusion that Sweden is probably just being racist by attempting to throw the book at one of the most successful black artists of our generation for even daring to lay hands on a white boy, but I would like to widen the scope a little. The Twittersphere was in shambles post Rocky lock-up calling him a white knight for defending the women that the boys he assaulted were allegedly touching. One account even posted that Rocky and his friends should be given medals for attacking people who hurt women rather than being locked up.
While Swedish law enforcement is likely seriously overreacting by treating Rocky to allegedly inhumane conditions in the pen, we should pause before we give him the benefit of the doubt one hundred percent. Rocky stating that the boys were touching women is a strange thing to throw in an Instagram caption attempting to exonerate himself, but it is on brand for him. Rocky has worn Dior shirts stating we should all be feminists in music videos and claimed to be a supporter of women’s rights. It seems like this caption was the latest in this string of actions to solidify himself as a woke hero and for the most part people seem to buy it. It’s quite unfortunate when you consider the people that ASAP Rocky calls his brothers have been accused of doing much worse than those Swedish boys have ever done. Ian Connor, who just last month Kerwin Frost interviewed together with Rocky as the three smiled and laughed it up, has at least twenty-one rape allegations to his name. If Rocky has accepted his friends past that’s his decision but it is very telling. It’s the epitome of feigning wokeness when it is convenient for you and your troupe. Another key example comes from ASAP Bari who was caught on camera sexually abusing a woman in a hotel room and pleaded guilty to it in January of this year. It seemed as if Rocky was properly responding to the issue at first. Bari appeared to be kicked out of The Mob and Rocky even referred to him as a bitch on stage a week after the video went public. But this was all the way back in 2017 and the internet forgets about things quickly. Rocky was seen leaving a music festival with Bari less than a month later. Rocky’s actions appear to be a quick facade to get the people off his back before returning to business as usual.
Now one could say that all these accusations are hearsay and Rocky knows the actual truth, but in the words of Stephen Colbert “If one person in your life accused you of pooping in their kitchen sink, I could be persuaded to believe that that is a lie. But if 22 separate people came forward with detailed accounts of the time you had pooped in their sinks, I’m gonna start thinking you’re a sink-pooper”. So is Rocky wrongfully imprisoned? It’s still quite likely, but hero for women everywhere? Not until he checks the people he runs with at the very least. This situation puts stress on many sides because while ASAP Bari and Ian Connor’s actions are despicable they do not make Rocky’s imprisonment deserved. Rocky is clearly suffering from being in the wrong place at the wrong time aka being a nigga in Sweden. Institutional racism permeates every corner of the earth and Rocky isn’t immune to that despite clearly believing he is. Back in 2016 when asked about grassroots social movements such as Black Lives Matter Rocky stated “I don’t wanna talk about no fucking Ferguson and shit because I don’t live over there. I live in fucking SoHo and Beverly Hills. I can’t relate”. Rocky eventually backpedaled on this statement but only fell deeper into a pit of being problematic when he equated police killing blacks to black on black crime and tied that up with an “all lives matter” bow. It seems Rocky is experiencing injustice at the hands of law enforcement and can unfortunately finally relate. It’s quite ironic that now ASAP Rocky’s family is asking Reverend Al Sharpton, a renowned civil rights leader, for legal support after these absolutely heinous statements. So often in hip hop people get on and forget where they came from and even worse forget their color. I support Rocky and I think he should be freed, fuck Sweden and every prejudiced arm of the law across the globe. That being said I without a doubt know he wouldn’t give two shits about you or me if we were under his current circumstances. And don’t forget “Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in a coupe”.